MKB Law’s Top Five Tips for Employers

30 May 2022
2 minutes

Andrew Lightburn, the new Head of Employment Law at MKB Law, offers these five top tips for employers:

1. Get the foundations in place – Contract of Employments

It is a legal requirement that all employees are issued with a statement of their main terms and conditions/contract of employment. It is also very important that contracts (and policies) are kept up to date for example where employees may be promoted or their terms changed. Updates can also include new provisions relating to ‘best practices’ etc But probably the most important issue these days are issues such as data protection, protecting confidential information and also restrictions preventing employees from joining competitors.

2. Don’t get caught out – Employment Status

There have been many well-publicised cases arising out of the so-called ‘gig’ economy most surrounding the employment status of atypical ‘staff’. Namely whether they are engaged as an ‘employee’, ‘worker’ or ‘self-employed’. The risks of getting this wrong can be significant including where a self-employed contractor is found to be a ‘worker’ or ‘employee’ and the risk of the employer having to repay PAYE and NIC and having backdated holiday pay claims. Then there is the risk of a ‘worker’ being found to be an ‘employee’ giving rise to possible unfair dismissal and redundancy pay rights. Ensuring the correct employment status of staff has never been so important.

3. Prevention is better than cure – Disciplinary Procedures & Dismissal

Always get early legal advice on disciplinary or dismissal matters. Early advice gives you the opportunity to get the process correct and ensure that your business is in the best possible position to defend or settle any subsequent legal proceedings. A disciplinary process should be viewed as a ‘blank canvass’ – done correctly your business should succeed at defending any claims brought. The phrase ‘prevention is better than cure’ is very apt here.

4. Don’t skimp on the defence – Employment Tribunal proceedings

If your business does receive a Claim from the Employment Tribunal then it is important to act quickly as a Response to the claim will need to be submitted within 28 days. The Response to the claim is the legal basis upon which it will be defended. Having the defence legally drafted will put your business in the best possible position to defend the claim moving forward. There are many legal arguments that can be deployed which will allow your business to successfully defend the case or make the claim far easier to settle at a reduced cost.

5. Be commercially savvy – Compromise Agreements/Labour Relations Agency Settlements

Often achieving a quick and cheap commercial settlement is far more cost-effective than spending time and legal costs engaged in lengthy Tribunal proceedings which could easily last for 12-18 months. Engaging the negotiating skills and experience of an employment solicitor will be money well spent in ensuring potentially difficult situations go away quickly and quietly.

To discuss any of the points raised above, please contact Andrew or another member of our Employment team.

This article is for general guidance only and should not be regarded as a substitute for professional legal advice.

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